In 1953, after a home town art exhibit in Saugatuck Village Hall, newspaper illustrator and fine artist, Nat Steinberg, who had recently moved to the area, suggested that the group represented in the exhibit continue their work together. The group met on September 4, 1953 and named Jean Goldsmith the first president. She, May Heath, and Marguerite Bainbridge were among the officers named at that first gathering. These three women pulled together an art club that winter of 1953, and Goldsmith began teaching a class in pottery and painting attended by local villagers.
The Saugatuck Douglas Art Club Calendars from 1966 through 2011
The Saugatuck Douglas Art Club has published an annual calendar since 1966. It features black and white drawings of local scenes by local artists. From 1966 through 1980, the calendar was produced with two pages for each month, or 25 pictures, including a cover. Since then, it has had a standard format, with one page for each month, which requires a minimum of 13 pictures, including a cover.
The City of Saugatuck issues a mayor's proclamation honoring the Saugatuck Douglas Art Club on its 60th anniversary.
The work of the Saugatuck Douglas Art Club is commemorated in an exhibit at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts from June to August, 2011. Called "In Perspective: The Legacy of the Saugatuck Douglas Art Club" it shows artwork by founders and important members, the careers and contributions of scholarship students, and a glimpse of work by current members. Two gallery talks accompany the exhibit -- by Jane Van Dis on the early history of the Club and by Peggy Boyce on the history of the calendars.
Cathie Moore and Jane Van Dis, art fair chairs for many years, organize their final season of the Waterfront Invitational Art Fair and Village Square Art and Fine Crafts Fair.
The Art Club, through the efforts of Helen Van Mell, erects a memorial in honor of Saugatuck resident and puppeteer Burr Tillstrom in Saugatuck's Village Square Park.
The annual calendar (for 1966) is first published as a fundraiser. The effort is led by a committee consisting of Claire Allen, Janet Van Oss, Peggy Boyce. Over the next forty-seven years over seven hundred unique drawings of local scenes by local artists will be published.
Sept. 14, 1964 - Jean Goldsmith and Pansy Emmert elected joint presidents.